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February 24, 2020

Sebago Brewing, Hannaford team up for student culinary competition

Courtesy / Sebago Brewing Co. Students from KVCC's culinary arts program, right, at a recent visit to Sebago Brewing Co. in Gorham, pose with, from left, Rusty Packer, head brewer at Sebago Brewing Co.; Stephanie Enjaian, chair of the KVCC Culinary Arts Department; and Kai Adams, Sebago Brewing Co. owner and vice president.

Four chefs, eight culinary arts students and a cartload of locally sourced supermarket food walk into a tasting room ...

It may sound like the lead-in to a joke, but it's actually the premise for the Maine Grown Chefs food competition scheduled for next week. The event, on Wednesday, March 4, will support Kennebec Valley Community College's farm-to-table culinary program.

It will not only highlight the efforts of student chefs at the Fairfield college, but also the relationship among Sebago Brewing Co., Hannaford and Cafe Miranda owner and chef Kerry Altiero.

Courtesy / HospitalityMaine
Kerry Altiero, chef/owner of Cafe Miranda in Rockland, is teaming up with Hannaford Supermarkets and Sebago Brewing Co. on a chefs challenge for KVCC students.

Altiero has teamed with Hannaford in its Chef's Table program the past few years, and saw the competition as a way to leverage the three brands in a cooperative way to develop, and keep, home-grown culinary talent in the state, according to a news release. His restaurant, in Rockland, celebrated its 25th anniversary two years ago, and he was the winner of the 2019 HospitalityMaine chef of the year award.

The event is also an extension of the Chef'sTable program, which is a partnership between six chefs and Hannaford as a way to highlight fresh food choices and strengthen communities. Entering its third year, the program focuses attention on community problems such as child hunger.

Altiero and Hannaford Executive Chef Dorene Mills worked with brewers at Sebago Brewing late last year on football season tailgate-type recipes that could be paired with the brewery's Freshie Seshie IPA, which was created for the effort. Recipes were developed for mozzarella-stuffed meatball gyros, five-spice pulled pork bahn mi and grainless garbanzo tabbouleh. The recipes were added to Sebago's menus, and Hannaford sold four-packs of the Freshie Seshie in its stores.

Audience to pick best food-beer pairing

In the competition, four teams comprising two students and a chef each will develop recipes that complement Maine-made craft beer. The chefs are Altiero; Mills; Kevin Monroe, head of Sebago’s tasting room kitchen; and Mike Zubik, director of training and menu development at Sebago.

Each recipe must feature at least one item from Hannaford’s Taste of Inspirations line of products.

The audience will vote on the winning combination, which will be featured on Sebago Brewing and Cafe Miranda menus later this year. There will also be a selection of Hannaford gourmet cheese, with Sebago brewers helping those attending the competition pair cheese with a beer.

Graduates of KVCC's two-year culinary arts program — besides being taught food preparation, nutrition and other traditional instruction — get an in-depth knowledge of sustainable food systems, including where the food comes from, the advantages of buying locally, farming and production methods and the value of sustainable and ethical ingredients.

The chef event is from 6-8 p.m. at Sebago Brewing, at 616 Main St., in Gorham. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the KVCC culinary arts program. Tickets are available at the Sebago Brewing website.

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